Guest blog entry by Tris Hussey, author, blogger, new media maven:
Encouraging comments and discussion
Comments are what keep blogging going. The dialogue and feedback that helps you not only grow as a writer, but also ensures that you stay on track. Through comments you learn, interact, and gain inspiration. I’ve written entire follow-up posts based a comment from a post. I’ve also received cease-and-desist letters because of comments as well. Part of getting comments is writing to encourage comments. First step is to make sure comments are enabled (aka turned on) for all your posts. Nine times out of ten the default setting for blog engines is to have comments on, but sometimes they get turned off so just double check. Whether or not anyone can post a comment or if there is some kind of moderation in place is up to you, and I’ll get to that shortly.
With comments turned on, the next part is subtler: getting people to leave comments. There isn’t a “magic formula” for you to get lots of comments. Sometimes I pull it off, sometimes I don’t. In any case here are simple things you can do to help encourage comments:
- Leave examples out on purpose. People love to feel that they are contributing by adding to your post.
- Ask open-ended questions
- Ask for comments directly
- Take a contrary or controversial stance to the status quo
Even with these tips, including out-right asking for comments, sometimes a great post just doesn’t get any comments. Don’t worry, this happens with even the best posts. Sometimes it’s the posts that you don’t expect to receive any comments to be the one that gets the most. Sometimes you just never know.
Once you do get comments, to keep the flow going you have to respond to the comments you receive. Be open and willing to be proved wrong or challenged. Engaging in a healthy dialogue makes your blog a place where people will go for ideas and inspiration—which means that you will also gain inspiration as well. Every blog, no matter what the topic is, is made better with comments.
This is an excerpt from Tris Hussey’s upcoming book on blogging “6 Easy Blogging Projects” published by Pearson. Follow Tris on twitter.